What once started as a stress relief, an occasional hobby, soon became a way of life.
I used to hate running. I ran track in 7th grade. I sucked. Then one day I tried it and then I tried it again. A little ways down the road I tried even harder. My runs got longer, my body got stronger, and before I knew it I was a runner.
I used to struggle with running. I liked going on runs but I struggled pushing myself. I liked being comfortable. I liked running one mile and then taking a breather walk. I didn’t push myself because I liked feeling safe. I had to feel safe.
Running two miles without stopping? This was simply ludicrous in my mind. I didn’t think my body could handle it. The one day I just did it. All I did was start, and being the stubborn person I am, I refused to stop.
Once this happened, a ferocity ignited within my body. Once my shoes hit the concrete, I knew I could overcome whatever wrecked my mind that day – even if it was only for 20 minutes.
Yesterday, I accidentally ran six miles. Yes, you read that correctly, it was an accident. When I drove to Cameron Park to go run yesterday, I only planned to do three to four miles. A simple run to the suspension bridge and back.
When I finally reached the suspension bridge I had ran a little under two miles. This wasn’t acceptable because I wanted to run at least two miles without stopping. So I kept going. Then my watched beeped. I had hit the two mile mark but I still couldn’t stop. I looked up and in front of me was Baylor Law School and the pedestrian bridge to McLane Stadium. I guess you could say the ferocity within me took over.
In that moment everything I was worried about didn’t matter anymore. My body was on fire but that wasn’t important. My knee hurt but I didn’t care. In that moment it was only me. I couldn’t have stopped even if I wanted to. All the noises around me were suddenly tuned out. I ran along the Brazos River, dodging some ducks along the way, straight to Baylor Law School without a care in the world.
I reached the pedestrian bridge to McLane Stadium realizing I had just ran three miles without stopping. I reached a new triumph yesterday. In my few short years of running I had never done this before.
This is the same path where the last leg of the Bearathon took place last year. My dad tried to get me to run the final 3 miles all the way to the finish line, but after 10 miles I convinced myself I simply couldn’t do it. Yesterday that changed.
Reaching McLane Stadium was a feat in itself. By the time I stood on the bridge I was closer to my house than my car. I had come this far and I still had to go back to the park. Any other time I would have been tempted to give up. I would have half-run/half-walked back to the park. Yesterday that wasn’t an option.
I left McLane Stadium and headed back to Cameron Park. Only when I was a little bit into mile three did I tell myself to take a breather walk, though I’m convinced I could have gone a little further.
This mind game happened the entire way back to the park. I would think I should take a breather soon but then I’d check my watch and say just another tenth of a mile. I’d reach that point and then see some defining point along the river and say I’d stop when I reached that point. I eventually reached the point I was forcing myself to stop and walk for a couple minutes so I didn’t completely kill myself.
I arrived back at the park only to realize I wasn’t ready to stop. I saw my car and I ran right passed it. I headed straight to Jacob’s Ladder before I decided to turn around and run back. This is how I accidentally ran six miles yesterday. (Also, if I hadn’t already ran so much, I probably would have decided to climb Jacob’s Ladder too)
This is why running makes me brave. Yesterday I had probably the greatest run of my life and I didn’t even mean for it to happen. I tuned the world out and just ran. I pushed myself to do more and try harder. I learned more about myself. I wasn’t afraid anymore. I wasn’t afraid of my knee pains, my ankle giving out, or the blisters I felt coming. I wasn’t afraid of falling in the river. I just ran.
Running makes me brave because the more I run the more I love my body. The more I run, the more I am amazed at what my body is capable of because it is certainly more than I ever thought possible. Running has never gotten easier, I’ve just gotten stronger.